Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Novelty Yarn Bonanza

I have turned into a scarf knitting machine.

Knitting Satisfaction
One of the most satisfying components to my knitting, is having the knowledge to know what kind stitch is best suited to a specific yarn.

I've learned how to best use alpaca, and cotton and silk and different types of wool, and even blends. Now I'm learning how to best use these crazy novelty yarns, and I must admit, figuring it out and making it work has been just as satisfying as working with the natural fibers.

My current scarf is being done in Dune, by Trendsetter.

With all of my novelty scarves, the mission is to create an acceptably long scarf, that looks good, and doesn't use more than $13 worth of yarn, and doesn't take longer than 3 hours to make. With the Dune, it requires that I use a very open, lacey stitch to meet all of the criteria, and I can make one in about an hour and a half.

The "free scarf pattern" (used to get more hits on my site), for this scarf is as follows:

Cast on 13 stitches on a US13 needle.
Knit four rows.
Next row: K1, Yarn Over to last stitch, K1
Next row: K1, slip yarn over off the needle, to last stitch, K1
Next row: Knit
Next row: Knit

Repeat the last four rows till the yarn is almost gone. Knit four rows and use the remaining yarn for fringe.

For the Lana Grossa Pep and the Fee yarns, I just cast on around 18-22 stitches, and Knit two rows and Purl two rows. It makes the scarf longer than plain garter stitch.

Here's my remaining stash of about a dozen balls of novelty yarns, which include Fee, Pep and Dune.

Non Curliing Stockinette Stitch
Thuy asks me if there is a way to cast on (or off) so that stockinette stitch won't roll.

My favorite answer to this enigma was from Dani who clearly understands that the knitting is created only by selling your soul to Satan. That would explain how well J. Crew does as well.

But other than loose cast-on/cast-off, using loosely spun yarn, and blocking a lot, the tubular cast-on is the only solution that seems to have some general agreement.

Here are two links where you can read how to do tubular cast-on:


I'd be interested to hear if anyone tries it, and how well it works.

Thanks everyone for your advice and tips. The experience of the folks who read this blog are amazing.

Readers Comments/Questions
Clark is my newest favorite knitter. In a week, he got someone to teach him to knit, made a large swatch of knitting and purling, found my favorite local yarn store and bought a pattern and yarn for a hat which he's already finished.

And he found my site.

It doesn't hurt that he's one of the most attractive men I've ever seen in a yarn store either (sorry girls and boys, he's married).

Welcome to a new and fearless knitter. He also builds boats and teaches at one of the best prep schools in the country. Quite a Renaissance man.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Blog Wisdom Required

A blog reader asked an intriguing knitting question. Since I don't know the answer, and I'd like to, I'm going to ask the folks who read this blog if they might know.

Non Rolling Stockinette
Thuy asks me if there is a way to cast on (or off) so that stockinette stitch won't roll.

She has a scarf and a sweater from J. Crew with no hem, done in plain stockinette stitch that doesn't roll.

Here's the proof.

Does anyone have any ideas on how one might accomplish this? The sweater is 100% wool in case that affects your answer.

Craft Sale Manic Knitting
This weekend has been non-stop knitting. Mostly for the upcoming craft sale on the 20th of December.

So far this weekend, I've completed four scarves and two London Beanies, and I'm well on my way to finishing a fifth scarf. I'm using Pep, Fee and Dune for the scarves, and Kureyon for the London Beanies. I also have two Pep scarves and two Koigu scarves at the local yarn store and four Headhugger Hats left over from the previous craft show. I'm hopeful to have about three dozen items that I can sell at the show...if not more.

I get to see my friend who's hosting the craft sale this evening for movie and a dinner, and I wanted to show her my extensive progress.

Other Knitting Progress
I did do a little work on the Ronas Hill vest.

Not really enough to merit an updated picture. I also brought Ronas Hill into my localy yarn store when I went in to buy more novelty yarn, and everyone fawned over it.

There was a newly obsessed male knitter in the store when I went in. When he saw me, he said he had been to my web site...and he's only been knitting a week. Hi Clark if you get to read this. Hope your hat is coming out well.

Readers Comments/Questions
Jojo asks who puts out the Pep yarn (she likes the colors).

The Pep yarn is a Lana Grossa yarn. It' similar to Fee and some of the other "hairy" yarns. The reason I buy Pep is that is has about 20 more yards, and cost about $2 less per ball than most of the other hairy scarf yarns.

Pubah asks if I've ever seen anyone wearing these scarves?

I actually have seem some folks wearing them, and like funky clothes, some folks can get away with it, and some can't. And as Kathy mentions, it's the folks that go way overboard with this stuff by wearing it all at once that makes these scarves look way more stupid than they might otherwise.

The best comment I've seen so far from my readers is actually on Wendy's blog. It's the total amount she and Theresa have collected for Heifer International (it was almost $2,500 last I looked).

For any of you who have made contributions, you are amazing...thank you. For those of you who haven't, please consider doing so if you can. Click here to contribute.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Holiday Knitting Charity

Interested in charity? Want to find a way to make yours knitting related? Read on.

Knitbloggers Knitting Basket Project
Theresa and Wendy have organized another amazingly kind thing. By leveraging all of the folks that read their blogs, they are looking to make a charitable donation to Heifer International that helps the needy and is knitting related.

I won't go into detail here, since Wendy and Theresa have described it very well, but if you don't regularly ready either of their blogs, and don't already know about this kind thing they're doing, please stop by their sites and contribute whatever you can.

I wholeheartedly support their efforts and hope you will too.

Knitting Event
When Marilyn and I get together, we both agree that the best part of this blogging thing are some of the people we've met during the process. Blogging takes quite a bit of time and effort, and knit-blogging requires the additional effort of producing knitted products to display on the blog.

The payback for me has been that my blog has introduced me to a number of folks who are incredible

people, as well as interesting and/or talented fiber artists. This past Sunday, I got to meet up with three of them.

Marilyn hosted a Knit Luncheon at her new house (ritzy gated community home) for me, Lisa and Kathy.

It's always energizing to be around such interesting and creative folks. What made this day even more amazing was that Kathy decided it was time to do a major de-stashing of the yarn that she would never get to in three lifetimes.

Now, don't be jealous, but she brought five Hefty bags full of yarn for us to pick from it anything we wanted. To make this story even more amazing, her yarn was amazing stuff. She had full sweaters worth of yarn in beautiful merinos, soft and luxurious silk/wool combinations, and colors that were incredible.

I walked out on Sunday with two full sweaters worth of amazing yarn. I honestly wanted to take all of it, but truth be told, I already have more than I could ever knit with in a lifetime, and I decided I would only take yarn that I would definitely use, and let Lisa and Marilyn enjoy the rest.

It was an awesome time in a yarn orgy, eating, laughing kind of way.

Knitting Progress
Work has been keeping me very busy, and I've done a little bit of work on the Regia sock, and a little bit of work on the Ronas Hill vest. Neither of them have I made enough progress to merit a picture.

I did, however, also finish the Pep scarf (the first of many) for the December craft show/sale that I agreed to participate in.

I'm very happy with how it came out. The length is perfect and it's soft and beautifully colored. I know these scarves will be sold very quickly.

Hopefully, I'll have more to report on the other projects over the next few days.

And please, even if you can only contribute a few dollars to the Knitbloggers Knitting Basket Project, please consider it.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Knit Blog Controversies

People, this is just a reminder. It's only knitting.

Knitting for me has always been an easy, fun-to-learn hobby/obsession.

It always cracks me up when someone gets so wrapped up in a comment I make on my blog, or a comment someone leaves in the Comments forum, that they get infuriated enough to write angry comments.

Even funnier, is when it starts a major, nasty flame war.

It must be the time of year, because both Marilyn and I got some interesting comments. Marilyn even had to ban someone on comments.

Back to Knitting
Ronas Hill is moving along swimmingly.

I've gotten about 10 inches done on the body of the vest, which means I've only got 5 more inches before I start the arm hole shaping.

Since I plan on making the shoulders more narrow than called for in the pattern, the arm hole shaping will take a little upfront calculations and changes to the pattern.

Other Projects
I also got a little more done on the Regia sock (the second of the pair). When I work on this damn sock, I seem to knit and knit and knit, and after it's all said and done, I've got an inch done.

I've also agreed to show some of my stuff in a craft show/sale toward the end of December, so I've started to supplement my novelty yarn scarf supply in anticipation.

I'd like to have at least a dozen of these scarves to sell by then, but we'll see how bored I get with doing them.

I love the Pep yarn, it's soft and makes a great fabric. While I wouldn't personally wear anything made from it, a lot of folks love the resulting scarves.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Hot Mass Murderers

Finally they've found a mass murderer who I don't find attractive.

Green River Killer
This guy has confessed to killing around 50 woman, and I don't even think I'd look twice if I saw him in a g-string in my local gay bar.

So there's hope for me yet that I'll recover from this obsession with hot looking mass murderers.

Interesting Comments
I have to say, the comments from both the regular readers and the new readers have been very interesting lately. They have kept me highly entertained throughout my work day. Thanks to Lisa, I have been fortunate enough to actually see the infamous "Butt Bra"

Click here to see -

Knitting Progress
I kept meaning to take a picture, and I never got around to it. But I've finished a third repeat of the 18 row pattern on Ronas Hill. I'll have an updated picture in the next blog entry.

I didn't do any work on the Regia sock.

I didn't do any work on the Janis project.

I completed the other secret project. This project is a possible business venture. A friend asked if I would knit a prototype product that he'd like to have commercially made and sold.

I think the idea is excellent, so hopefully he'll like the prototype. I finished knitting it, but I have a little finishing to do on it.

Readers Comments/Questions
Marilyn mentioned: "Although I do recall Joe's problem with a certain Fair Isle and screwing up the armhole steek placement...."

Thank you Marilyn for you timely reminder. That was a tragedy, and I still have the four inches of knitted, Fair Isle fabric tube to torture myself when I get cocky with my knitting.

The good end to that story is that I did finish that Fair Isle, it came out great, and it didn't stop me for starting a new one. Yes, I do make mistakes, and some monumental ones. I just don't let it hinder my growth in the avocation of knitting.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Knitting Excitement

I know when I sit at work dreaming about working on my current projects, my excitement level for knitting is high.

Knitting Projects
I am truly enjoying how Ronas Hill is progressing. In addition, I like the work I'm doing on the Regia sock as well. But if that weren't enough, I'm working on two projects that I can't discuss or show pictures of in the blog, and both of them are keeping my interest as well.

I truly do sit at work a lot thinking about working on one or more of my current projects.

Knitting Progress
As mentioned, I'm continuing progress on Ronas Hill. The pattern repeats are only 18 stitches wide, so I memorize them after the first or second repeat. Not having to refer back to the graphic in the pattern makes it much easier and quicker to complete a rown. It also increases my eagerness to continue onto the next row.

You'll see in the picture for today that I've finished another half a pattern repeat which is extremely good progress for a "school night".

All this success on a Fair Isle progress is giving me hope that I will design a Fair Isle of my own as one of my next design projects.

I'm confident that I could come up with an interesting colorway for the design, but it will be a challenge for me to come up with a pattern repeat that I can fit into a standard pullover or cardigan pattern.

I'll also take a lot of care in how I frame the design with ribbing, collar and/or button band. The success of many of Ron Schweitzer's designs are in how he frames them, so I've realized how important that is.

Sock Knitting
Since I haven't needed the distraction of mindless knitting in the last couple of days, I haven't done any additional knitting on the Regia sock.

Readers Comments/Questions
Barb mentions that she thinks I'd look hot in fishnets.

I have always had great legs, and they look amazing in fishnets. I've always thought it would be fun to knit a pair, but I honestly don't think I'd put so much work into something so impractical.

Jojo mentions that she's waiting for the Simply Knit 2 book from ThreadBear and hoping there are interesting, easily knit items in it.

The good news is that Simply Knit (the store) just got their copies, so Matt/Rob's should be there by now or if not very soon. The original Simply Knit 2 books that were sold at Stitches were ordered via FedEx airmail at an outrageous cost so they could have the patterns to go with the kits. Anyone that bought them there paid cost for their books, I think.

The bad news is that the two most simply patterns in the book aren't designed by the ladies at Simply Knit. But I'm sure you'll find a lot of patterns that you'll want to knit anyway. The book is as good as the first one.

Deb ask how the thumb is (out of hand therapist concern).

As Kathy quite correctly surmised, even a "sports" injury doesn't stop me from knitting. The swelling went down in two days, and the pain was gone the day after that. Nothing traumatic or causing anything chronic. Thanks for asking.

Linda mentioned the Sandness sweater by Ron Schweitzer in the Jamieson 2 book.

I can't see the pattern very well in the one web pic I can find of this sweater, but the colors are stunning. I'll have to take a closer look at both the pattern and the yarn when I get home. Plus the Jamieson Spindrift is a helluva lot cheaper than the Shetland 2000. My vest kit cost US$50 more than the same size pullover kit for Sandness.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Hits on the Rise

I'm not sure if it's just a general rise in interest for knitting blogs, or due to the post from the other day, and your comments, but my average hits per day have gone up about 22%.

Fun Experiment
That was a fun experiment, and you folks are funny as hell with your creative entries to the topic.

But honestly, I'm don't really care if hits are up or down. It's kind of flattering having a popular web site, but the truth is that I'd be writing this blog even if no one read it.

Knitting Progress
I've gotten another pattern repeat done on Ronas Hill, so it's moving along about as quickly as I had expected.

Two of the colors in this sweater are only used once every 18 rows. The lavendar and the red yarn are used very sparingly, and I'm liking the effect that has on the pattern.

Just confirms my theory that Ron Schweitzer is a genius at this stuff.

Sock Knitting
I've also been doing a little work on the Regia sock over the last week, when I don't feel like concentrating on Fair Isle. I got up to the point of doing a couple of rounds of ribbing.


So, despite a stupid after-hours bowling injury, I've been able to continue knitting without too much difficulty or pain.

Readers Comments/Questions
Jennifer asks if I'd consider adding video instructions to my blog.

I have the technology to do that, but my blog site offers only limited storage space for files and pictures. I don't expect to be doing video in the foreseeable future.

MEA asks: "How does this from your Newcomers' Rules:

'First and foremost, I want this place to be a place where folks can feel comfortable expressing their opinions about knitting and all things related to it.'

relate to the subject of Naked Knitting etc.? Don't tell us it is another joke.

Fortunately, I'm not a Newcomer, so I'm not subject to those silly rules.